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Teachers’ notes | Beneath the waves

Learning objectives:

  • To understand the composition and inter-relationships between species in Antarctica’s food web
  • To understand natural adaptations to the Antarctic environment
  • To explore the pressures on Antarctica’s marine environment

Who’s looking at you?

This activity is designed for use on the Interactive Whiteboard to introduce some of the species in Antarctica’s food web. The sound effects add a bit of fun.

The follow-up on adaptations to the marine environment can either be teacher-directed on the Interactive Whiteboard or by downloading the characteristics as a sorting activity for students to complete individually or in groups.

The answers are as follows:

  • Seal B, C
  • Antarctic cod A, G
  • Emperor penguin F, D
  • Orca/Killer whale E, H

There is also an extension task for students to consider the difference between physical and behavioural adaptations. Who’s looking at you? could be extended by asking students to draw on these adaptations to make their own super-species!

Who’s eating who?

This is a challenging activity that could be completed with or without the Interactive Whiteboard.


Beforehand, it is recommended that you download the feeding habits of the different species and distribute these to students for reference during the activity. This information also features in the first part of the multimedia version on-screen.

Students can either complete the food web on the Interactive Whiteboard or by filling in the diagram included in the download text version of Who’s eating who?

The download, Antarctica’s food web provides more in-depth coverage of how the food web works and introduces students to key terminology linked to the glossary.

These activities are based on resources developed on the Australian Classroom Antarctica. Visit the site for additional material in PDF format.

A useful PDF on food chains written for schools on the Australian National Oceans Office can be downloaded here. The site also includes an interactive game and other classroom activities on marine food webs. Visit

A Time to Krill

This is essentially a ‘murder mystery’ role play to illustrate how warmer waters possibly caused by human activity have led to the dramatic disappearance of krill. The activity could take up to two lessons, depending on how much time you allocate for students’ background research.

Here is a suggested route through the activity:

1. Divide the class into six groups. Give each group one ‘suspect profile’:

Albert Ross
Fisherman Fred
Sylvia Seal
Sid Squid
Adélie Penguin
Belinda Bluewhale

Each profile provides background on ‘the victim’ (krill), their individual role as a suspect and website suggestions for students to develop their roles further.

It is important to make each group aware that they should not share their information with any other group!

2. Allow time for groups to get to grips with their profiles and/or carry out extra research. It might be helpful to scaffold this stage of the activity with key questions like:

  • Where do you live?
    What do you eat?
    What problems do you face?
    Are you guilty of the crime?

3. Re-organise the class so that 1-2 representatives from each ‘suspect’ group joins representatives from the other groups.

4. In turn, students can introduce their different roles and give an account of their position in the Antarctic marine ecosystem. Students should also be encouraged to question each other to try to discover who is ‘guilty’.

5. Once each ‘suspect’ has had a turn, ask the group to vote on who they think is guilty. Does each group reach the same verdict?


This activity is designed to de-brief and review the learning outcomes of A Time to Krill highlighting the impact of krill’s disappearance on the entire ecosystem, and to encourage students to think about solutions.